Detail

Bipartisan Senate Legislation Proposes Reporting Requirements for Opportunity Funds; Freddie Mac Releases Analysis of OZs

  • May 10, 2019

Bipartisan Senate legislation introduced May 8 would direct the Treasury Department to collect data and issue annual reports on Opportunity Zone (OZ) tax incentives. Reporting requirements were included in the original Investing in Opportunity Act before Congress passed it as part of tax reform in December 2017.

The Opportunity Zones bill (S. 1344)—introduced by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.)­—would require data on the number of opportunity funds created, their asset classes, their holdings, and their economic ripple effects in the designated OZs where they invest. (BGov, May 8)

  • Congress approved the creation of Opportunities Zones-economically distressed areas characterized by high poverty and subpar employment opportunities-and tax incentives to encourage redevelopment in these lower-income communities.
  • The program allows for capital gain related to a current sale or transaction to be deferred until December 31, 2026 – if investors place their capital gain into a fund that makes qualified investments in Opportunity Zones.  Individuals and entities can contribute to these Opportunity Funds.
  • The bill (S. 1344)—introduced by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.)­—would require data on the number of opportunity funds created, their asset classes, their holdings, and their economic ripple effects in the designated OZs where they invest. (BGov, May 8)
  • "Already leaders in rural and urban communities across the country are beginning to use Opportunity Zones as a valuable new tool to drive high-impact investment into their communities," Sen. Booker said. "This legislation will restore and strengthen transparency measures to ensure [the Opportunity Zones program] lives up to its original promise and delivers real impact to those who need it most."  (Sen. Booker news release, May 8)
  • "Opportunity Zones have been a unifying message for both Republicans and Democrats," Sen. Scott said. "It's imperative that we create reporting requirements to allow us to accurately measure the success of the initiative..." 
  • The Treasury Department last month released a highly-anticipated, second set of Opportunity Zone (OZ) regulations that seek to provide certainty to potential OZ investors and drive economic development in economically distressed communities nationwide. (reference169-page Treasury regulations and IRS news release, April 17 / Roundtable Weekly, April 19) 
  • No action on S. 1344 is imminent, though Congress could consider tax legislation this summer or fall. 

Freddie Mac has released an analysis of its own financial data to show multifamily market characteristics in Opportunity Zones.  Notable among the reports many findings were the following: 

Freddie Mac has released an analysis of its own financial data to show multifamily market characteristics in Opportunity Zones.

  • Housing units in OZs tend to be relatively old-28.7% of the multifamily rental stock was built prior to 1960 (compared to a rate of less than 20% elsewhere).
  • The population density of OZs is low-about two-thirds of the national rate
  • Of the 117 opportunity funds identified by the National Council of State Housing Agencies as of April, 76% have an investment focus on multifamily residential development. 

The report concludes that census tracts designated by governors as OZs "overlap quite well with areas that Freddie Mac targets for affordable housing assistance." 

The OZ program's goals and incentives were the focus of a Jan. 29 discussion during The Real Estate Roundtable's State of the Industry Meeting, which featured Sen. Scott and Roundtable member Geordy Johnson (CEO, Johnson Development Associates, Inc.). (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 15)